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General News of Tuesday, 20 September 2016


Towing project in limbo while broken-down vehicles claim lives

About 118 trucks acquired by the Road Safety Management Services Limited (RSMSL), a private company, for the national towing service have become idle because of the inability of the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) to give the go-ahead for the implementation of the project.

An agreement was signed between the RSMSL and the NRSC in 2013 to roll out the National Towing Service, as stipulated in the Road Traffic Act, L.1. 2180. However, after the initial fanfare, the project stalled.

The equity shareholders of RSMSL are contemplating taking legal action against the NRSC if efforts to deal with the bottlenecks fail.

The Communications Manager of RSMSL, Mr Roland Walker, told the Daily Graphic: “According to the NRSC, trends on accident fatalities indicate that 22 per cent of deaths from road crashes in Ghana are caused by disabled, accident and broken-down vehicles on roads. This is the more reason the delay in executing the contract to kick-start a national towing project is worrying.”

Bureaucratic bottlenecks

However, the NRSC says that the inability of the towing service to roll out its activities after three years is not the doing of the commission, since deliberations on the project are no longer in its hands.

The Head of Communications at the NRSC, Mr Kwame Koduah Atuahene, told the Daily Graphic that “it is purely due to bureaucratic bottlenecks and the delay is not our making”.

He said a transactional advisor (TA) who would be responsible for the appraisal of the agreement had almost finished his work and, therefore, the process was out of the NRSC’s purview.

“The good thing is that the TA has completed his work and it is currently before the Attorney-General,” he said.

Speaking on the delay in rolling out the national towing service, which has prevented RSMSL from committing its resources, Mr Atuahene said: “We regret it; they are in to provide certain services. Each time we see people with disabilities as a result of road crashes, it affects all of us. Unfortunately, it is not a transaction that could be solved easily.”

He said he was, however, optimistic that the project would soon see the light of day, in view of the extensive work that had been done on the agreement.

Towing trucks wasting away

Meanwhile, millions of Ghana cedis which had been invested by RSMSL in a fleet of towing trucks and other logistical equipment to complement the efforts of the NRSC to curb the increasing spate of deaths caused by disabled, broken down and accident cars on the roads are going waste as the trucks continue to be exposed to the vagaries of the weather.

Accident figures

In the first quarter of 2016, provisional figures supplied by the NRSC indicated that the number of deaths on roads in Ghana was 508, an increase from 395 during the same period last year.

The first quarter provisional results showed that the Brong Ahafo Region recorded 108 deaths, the highest in the country.

Greater Accra came second with 90 deaths, followed by Ashanti with 78 deaths.

People aged below 18 made up 83 of the number of deaths recorded through accidents.

According to the NRSC, road accidents alone cost Ghana 1.6 per cent of GDP annually, which translates to about 2,000 deaths on the average per year.

Also, almost 60 per cent of crash victims are within the productive bracket of 18